Applewood Hot Smoked Salmon

In browsing around the recipes at Zest, it’s pretty darn obvious that I love my veggies!  I find myself actually craving kale salads and the like…which I realize is not the case with every adult. LOL.  However, a close runner up in my cravings is fish!  I think I could eat sushi for just about every meal and NEVER get bored with it.  I love fish tacos, fish en papillote, sautéed vera cruz, grilled simply with lemon, you name it!  It’s kind of funny now that I think about it.  It seems that I honestly crave the two foods that I had a natural aversion to as a child: veggies and fish!  Ha, I love how we grow and change through the years….even our tastebuds can do a 180*!

With that said, I have been having fun this summer with experimenting in the kitchen and at the BBQ.  I love so many different types of fish recipes, that I figured I needed to start recreating them at home (minus the heavy restaurant bill).  Hence my Gravlax recipe that I posted early this month.  Now I am moving onto the BBQ for some delectable hot smoked salmon.  Perfect for snacking or topping on a caesar salad.  Yum!

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The most important ingredient here is some killer fresh fish.  Remove the skin and the bones so that the marinade can really permeate the flesh.

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That color is gorgeous!!!  And the smell of bourbon is getting me so excited for building the flavor profile of this dish!  Let the fish kind of take a bourbon bath for 15 minutes in the fridge while you get the rub all prepped.

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Obviously, going the route of regular sea salt is perfectly acceptable.  I am just a total sucker for the color and mineral components in pink Himalayan sea salt.  Besides, there is something soooo satisfying about bringing a hammer into the kitchen and giving things a good smash!  This baggie and hammer technique works perfectly for peppercorns as well.  In the past, when using tricolored peppercorns, I have been so disappointed with the color when I ground them in a regular spice mill.  Using a hammer, I still get to see those beautiful flecks of red in the try-colored mix.  I’m telling you, I seriously eat with my eyes!!

Combine the brown sugar, salt, and peppercorns into a simple seasoning mix.  Pat the fish dry of all the bourbon and then coat both sides of the salmon with the dry seasoning.

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Cover it up with some plastic wrap and let this cure in the fridge for 4 hours.  Good things come to those who wait! 😉

An hour before you are ready to hit the BBQ, let your applewood chips soak in water so that they are ready to get smokey in the heat.

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Oh geez!  The color!

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This is all about indirect heat.  Turning one burner on medium-high heat, I kept the burner off that I was to lay the salmon over.

Ok.  Time for a sidebar.  Here is where you learn from my own beginner mistake.  In hind sight, I totally should have made a double layered tinfoil pouch for the chips, completely covering the chips other than a few poked holes on the top.  Then, I would have lifted the grate and placed that pouch of water soaked chips right on the burners.  The reason?  The fish does not take long on the BBQ and you have GOT to get those chips smoking fast so that you get the gorgeous smoke flavor throughout the fish.  Oh well, live and learn!

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The other important step: shut the lid!  Let things get smoky for about 20 minutes.  The fish should feel firm and flaky when done.

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Even though I bombed out on this run with creating a significant smoky flavor, the fish was amazing.  The texture was perfect, the sweet and salty flavor was dreamy.  This technique not only begs repeating, but also playing with other flavor combinations.  I’m hooked!

Happy grillin’

xoxo

Chanda

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Applewood Hot Smoked Salmon

Delectable applewood hot smoked salmon is the perfect tasty treat for any occasion!

Ingredients
  • 1 lb wild caught salmon
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 1/4 cup crushed pink Himalayan sea salt, or regular sea salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp crushed tri color peppercorns, or black peppercorns
  • applewood BBQ chips
Instructions
  1. The most important ingredient here is some killer fresh fish.  Remove the skin and the bones so that the marinade can really permeate the flesh. Let the fish kind of take a bourbon bath for 15 minutes in the fridge while you get the rub all prepped.

  2. Combine the brown sugar, salt, and peppercorns into a simple seasoning mix.  Pat the fish dry of all the bourbon and then coat both sides of the salmon with the dry seasoning.

  3. Cover it up with some plastic wrap and let this cure in the fridge for 4 hours.  Good things come to those who wait!

  4. An hour before you are ready to hit the BBQ, let your applewood chips soak in water so that they are ready to get smokey in the heat. Make a double layered tinfoil pouch for the chips, completely covering the chips other than a few poked holes on the top. Lift the grate of the BBQ and place the pouch of water soaked chips right on the burners.

  5. This is all about indirect heat.  Turning one burner on medium-high heat, I kept the burner off that I was to lay the salmon over. Shut the lid!  Let things get smoky for about 20 minutes.  The fish should feel firm and flaky when done. 

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